Lebanon News

PSP official says communication with Syria severed

In this Friday, Jan. 21, 2011 file photo, Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt speaks during a press conference in his house in Beirut, Lebanon. (AP Photo)

BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party official Ghazi Aridi said communication between the party and the Syrian leadership has been severed after PSP leader Walid Jumblatt’s suggestion that regime change was the only solution to the crisis in Damascus.

“Communication between MP Walid Jumblatt and the Syrian regime has ceased and lines of communications are closed due to the disagreement over the approach needed for the situation in Syria,” Ghazi Aridi, who is also public works minister, told pan-Arab daily Ash Sharq Al Awsat in article published Sunday.

Aridi expressed puzzlement over Syria's behavior toward Jumblatt, saying that Syria's allies, Iran and Russia, have urged Assad to adopt a political solution to the crisis rather than a military one.

Jumblatt has gradually changed his position on Syria, from in April describing the unrest as part of an Israeli-U.S. plan to divide Syria and the entire region to recently stating that regime change was the only solution to end the 10-month old crisis.

On Tuesday, Jumblatt urged Russia and Iran to convince Syria that a fundamental change in governance was the only solution to the unrest.

“All historic experiences have proven that the peoples’ movement moves forward and does not go backward,” the PSP leader, who in 2010 was a staunch critic of Assad’s rule, said in a statement.

Jumblatt’s statement prompted Syria’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Jihad al-Makdisi to say the PSP leader should mind his own business.

“His comments are much appreciated and are his personal [views]. We wish him all the best in resolving all the Lebanese issues and once these have been sorted out, he can then move to the Syria situation,” Makdisi, speaking the Lebanon’s NBN television station, said Friday.

During his interview with Ash Sharq Al Awsat Aridi echoed Jumblatt, reiterating that Assad’s military crackdown on protesters would only lead to further complications.

“The military and security solution in Syria will not lead to anything but more complications and there is no way out of this crisis but through a political resolution and the longer the military solution continues, the higher the price,” he said.

Syria and its allies in Lebanon, who are in a broad coalition with Jumblatt, have maintained that violence and killing are at the hands of “armed gangs.”





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